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As you have probably heard by now, late last week Pimco co-founder Bill Gross made an inadvisable call to Reuters, the details of which can be found here. In short, Gross was responding to a Journal article that highlighted tension around the office that likely contributed to CEO Mohamed El-Erian choosing to depart his post; things like Gross’s insistence on absolute silence on the trading floor, letting it be known that employees are not to look him in the eye, slashing people’s bonuses for forgetting to number presentation pages, telling someone to cut him a check for $10,000 to make up for failing to stand when clients were in the office, and uttering the words “If only Mohamed would let me, I could run all the $2 trillion myself…I’m Secretariat…Why would you bet on anyone other than Secretariat?” while holding court with a bunch of traders.
Perhaps in a somewhat misguided attempt to get his side of the story out to the press, Gross told Reuters that the Journal article, written by Greg Zuckerman and Kirsten Grind, had actually been authored by El-Erian, as part of a campaign to “undermine me,” “indicated that he had been monitoring El-Erian’s phone calls,” and when it became apparent that the news outlet was not simply going to run a story vindicating Gross without any kind of supporting evidence that El-Erian had indeed ghost-written the Journal story, “You’re on his side. Great, he’s got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger.” (According to a spokesman for Pimco, “Gross…categorically denies saying this firm ever listened in on Mr. El-Erian’s phone calls or that Mr. El-Erian ‘wrote’ any previous media article.”)
So! Probably kind of an awkward day to be working out of the Newport Beach office. For employees who live in fear of saying the wrong thing– or saying anything, period– in front of Gross in good times, anxiety is likely running high. For them, some tips re: how to make it out alive in the coming weeks with your body parts and bonuses intact:
- Of all days to adhere to the NO EYE CONTACT RULE, today, is the day. Don’t look at him, don’t even breathe near him.
- He’s obviously feeling paranoid right now, and given his body issues, consider heading off any interactions with him with a casual, “Have you been working out?” or simply reaching out and squeezing his bicep.
- Throw your desk chair out the window and commit to working standing up for the foreseeable future.
- Ban the words “Mohammed,” “El-Erian,” and “Mo” from your vocabulary. Just hearing his name is likely to set Gross off.
- Keep a laminated list of reasons why Pimco is better off without ole whatshisface on your person at all times and mention said reasons frequently, even as non sequitur. It’s never the wrong time to announce to no one in particular that it was a blessing in disguise that “that guy” is no longer around since it means that “[you should be shouting now] Secretariat is finally free to do his thing.”